Press Release (ePRNews.com) - MIAMI - Oct 19, 2017 - The following is an open letter from the perspective of Summer House Detox Center.
In the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic, the price of naloxone – the antidote for an opioid overdose – continues to soar. It’s estimated that 125 people are dying on a daily basis due to a drug overdose, half of which are from illicit prescription painkillers or heroin. If naloxone were affordable and more readily available, many of these deaths could have been prevented.
The spike in the price of naloxone seems to correlate directly with the spike of overdose deaths in recent years. The drug was approved by the FDA back in 1971, and only 10 years ago, cost about $1 a dose. Today, a single dose could cost well over $40 – making it unfeasible for hospitals, emergency medical providers, and policemen to always have the valuable antidote on hand.
The pharmaceutical companies are the ones who’ve caused this epidemic, and now they are profiting off of the drug used to save people’s lives.
In the case of severe overdoses, one treatment is not always effective. Some people require up to nine doses of the drug to be resuscitated, meaning that a single overdose could cost $360 with standard naloxone. With so many people overdosing on a daily basis, emergency departments simply do not have the funding to provide everyone with that many doses of the drug. This forces them to choose who will live and who will die – a choice that can scar them mentally for years to come.
The price increase isn’t limited to just one or two pharmaceutical companies. One company now sells a 10-pack of naloxone for $142, which is a 129 percent increase since 2012. Another pharmaceutical company sells a 1 milligram dose of naloxone for $40, a 95 percent increase from 2014. Even worse, an easier-to-use injectable formulation of naloxone manufactured by another pharma company costs $4,500 for a mere two doses, a spike of over 500 percent since 2015.
“This is downright price gouging from the pharmaceutical companies, and the end result is that addicts are dying because the medication is too expensive,” said Rootie Cook, the owner of the Summer House Detox Center in Miami, Florida. With over 20 years of experience treating over 22,000 patients with substance abuse disorders, the facility has a good understanding of this recent naloxone controversy.
“The pharmaceutical companies are the ones who’ve caused this epidemic, and now they are profiting off of the drug used to save people’s lives.”
What will happen in the future regarding the price of naloxone remains to be seen. In 2015, the sale of naloxone earned one pharmaceutical company $38.6 million, which was over 15 percent of its total sales that year. With that much of a profit, pharmaceutical companies may continue to reap the benefits of having a monopoly on a high-demand product.
About Summer House Detox Center
Summer House Detox Center is a facility that provides detoxification services for people suffering from substance or alcohol abuse in South Florida. Patients receive a liquid cocktail that makes the withdrawal process comfortable and easy. With a two-to-one staff-to-patient ratio as well as both medical doctors and addiction specialists on staff, patients can rest assured that they’re getting the best treatment available.
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